Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 10, 2016

"Who is my neighbor?" -- Luke 10:29

“Who is my neighbor?” — Luke 10:29

 

July 10, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle C. Readings:

      1) Deuteronomy 30:10-14

      Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37 or Psalm 19:8-11

      2) Colossians 1:15-20

      Gospel: Luke 10:25-37

 

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

One difficulty of living the Christian life is that while most of it is simple, it’s often not easy. Love God, love your neighbor — simple concepts, but not always easy to accomplish.

Similar precepts are: serve the poor, sin less, pray daily, read the Bible regularly, and attend and participate fully at Mass on Sunday. There are many others, but you get the idea. All of these are so simple and basic that I hardly need to mention them, but none is easy to bring to fruition.

These tasks are not difficult because, as Moses says in this week’s first reading from Deuteronomy, we don’t have to go up in the sky to complete them or across the ocean to achieve them. No, he says, they are already planted within us; we only have to carry them out. Simple but not easy.

This week’s Gospel is one of the most challenging messages in the whole Bible. In answering the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus uses a person all Jews of the day despised. Jews were not to associate with Samaritans, so to use this person as the example of mercy would have seemed quite outlandish.

For modern-day Christians, this example may seem a bit simple, but as soon as you bring it up-to-date, it is not as easy as it sounds. For instance, think of the people or groups you find it hard to like, even people who have totally different viewpoints, morals, faith and country of origin than you do. These are our Samaritans; these are our neighbors.

We all have people in our lives that irk us far past what is holy. It is these people that Jesus says are our neighbors. It is these people we are to love. Pope Francis has trumpeted this message from Jesus that we are to go beyond our comfort zone and love these neighbors. Depending on the situation, this may not even be simple, let alone easy.

Yet Jesus calls us to do it all the same. His exact words are, “Go and do likewise.” We are to go and be merciful and loving to everyone we meet, even those we do not like.

QUESTIONS:

Is there a person or a segment of society that you find hard to love? What can you do to show mercy to these people?

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